Friday, January 6, 2012

In Which I Am a Super-User

I anxiously picked up AJ's iPad from the UPS delivery center the day after Labor Day last year.  When we opened it, it was a bit overwhelming.  The same thing happened when learning about his cochlear implants and my different degrees of course.  Technology has a way of making people nervous.

We spent the rest of September choosing a communication program/app that would work for him.  From October into now we've been building said program. Changes to the program are constant and will never stop.

In November and December we saw AJ really take to the iPad.  He peeks around you to look at the screen to see what's on his agenda next and signs for it.  We've been working with him on using our pointer finger to scroll, swipe, and point on the screen.    We've added pictures to the picture glossary. We've built storyboards (daily routines) and adjusted them A LOT.  AJ has been able to predict his morning routine for long time now, but its so cool to see him "ask" for something.

A few weeks ago I walked into another room after getting him dressed for school and suddenly heard "swing.    swing.     swing.swing.swing.     swing.swing.swing"  and then footsteps.  he had picked up the iPad from his bed, tapped it a million times, obviously, on the swing, and then brought it to me to say, "Mom, I want to swing."  That was the moment that solidified that my child understood the power of his iPad.  That he understood his held power in communicating.

School has given dozens of examples as to how he's using the iPad.  So much so it is now being written into his Individualized Education Plan (IEP).  In addition to that, a brilliant plan has been conceived to train AJ's team on the iPad.  My initial thoughts regarding the staff was to have each of them take it home and explore.  The current plan is so brilliant it makes my heart all a-flutter and stuff.

Our school district's "iPad Guru" is coming to train the staff on AJ's ipad.  While I won't get into too many specifics as to how it is going to work, let me say I'm thrilled to know everyone will be trained congruently.

Enter the "users". I've said before that AJ has a large school team.  11 people.  This makes establishing who needs to know what important.  We'll be identifying the "super-users" and the "users".  In order to do this, we need to figure out who needs to know x,y,z, and who needs to know a,b,c.  For example, does his gym teacher really need to know how to change a storyboard?  Probably not. Do his teachers and aides?  Absolutely.

I've earned the name as the only current "super-user".  Therefore, I am putting together a list of what the staff needs to know. From there I'll break it into the two different user categories.  Rest assure I am not the only person creating a list.  A few of us are and will "cahoots" (get together and talk about it) in the near future.  In the meantime, you'll be happy to know that my list has started with "How to turn the iPad on and off, including use of the swipe "turn off feature".  Things you don't think about until you manually go through and think, ""

I didn't know what I was doing until I sat and played around with the iPad.  Its all through trial and error.
This technology is simply amazing and I'm so glad we were able to supply our little man with a way to speak his mind.  You have no idea.   I chat with Apple at least twice a week and have been in consistent contact with the company that created his communication app.  The support is amazing.

So, its "Super-User" Mom to the rescue, or whatever!

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